openDNS is nice

I’m saying nice, cause it ain’t awesome enough to be… well.. awesome, but it’s nice. So what is it? Well you probably know what DNS is, and if you don’t this will probably not interest you, but openDNS offers an alternative to you ISP’s boring old and slow DNS solution.

OpenDNS is faster and more secure, or so they claim. I’m sure it’s more secure, and that’s why I’m using it in the first place. Second cause I’m a geek I guess. Anyway, it’s more secure because it blocks sites that are known to be malicious which your ISP probably doesn’t, blocks botnets and evil worms like Conficker. I’m not sure if it’s actually faster, I haven’t noticed really, but I do like the standard error page they give you if you entered an incorrect URL. That same typo-fixing logic Google uses finds the correct domain name in most cases, so you’re only a click away from what you where really looking for, which is nice.

Setting it up is a piece of cake with the detailed tutorials on their site. The vanilla edition offers basic phishing protection and a better DNS. You can also tune your DNS settings and have it block pr0n sites, illegal stuff (warez I guess) or even basic time wasting websites like social networks (nooo, not my twitter!!) which makes it a neat solution for anyone looking for a good net-nanny system for home, or even the office. You can add several networks, add more domains to block, check network statistics, and some more neat and geeky stuff with the advanced settings. If you have an internet connection with a dynamic IP address you’ll have to run a small client application that keeps OpenDNS updated on your IP changes, so it knows who you are and can still apply your settings. With fixed IP’s you don’t have this problem so for a smaller business looking to outsource it’s DNS and web proxy configuration this could be a good solution.

So if you’re looking for a free way to control your internet traffic without having to install client-side software and have some added protection thrown in as a bonus, OpenDNS is worth checking out.

Photo by miss blackbutterfly, cc-licensed

7 thoughts on “openDNS is nice

  1. n3wjack Post author

    Hehe, I know the feeling.
    I usually don’t check my email from a hotel lobby internet PC because I’m worried the machine might not be secure.
    It usually isn’t either. I’ve ran into machine where the “internet” user has admin privileges… go figure.

  2. Jaap

    OpenDNS also doesn’t advertise that it works that way… maybe it doesn’t? I believe it does… For what it’s worth it made me at least feel “more secure” :-D.

    Connecting to an untrusted open wireless network is pretty insecure anyway. Traffic can still get sniffed. So login info from websites and email (if you use unencrypted connections when logging into websites and pop) is easily retrievable. That’s why I made sure I only used encrypted login pages, with trusted certificates (not self signed).

    Suffice to say, I was glad when my internet finally arrived… using untrusted access is a nightmare when you are security conscious (to the point of being a little bit paranoid).

  3. Jaap

    OpenDNS also doesn’t advertise that it works that way… maybe it doesn’t? I believe it does… For what it’s worth it made me at least feel “more secure” :-D.

    Connecting to an untrusted open wireless network is pretty insecure anyway. Traffic can still get sniffed. So login info from websites and email (if you use unencrypted connections when logging into websites and pop) is easily retrievable. That’s why I made sure I only used encrypted login pages, with trusted certificates (not self signed).

    Suffice to say, I was glad when my internet finally arrived… using untrusted access is a nightmare when you are security conscious (to the point of being a little bit paranoid).

  4. Jaap

    I started using OpenDNS when I was using an open wireless network (my internet hadn’t arrived yet) to prevent getting a phised by a malicious DNS server.

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